The incorporation of 2,2,2-trichloroethanol in polyacrylamide gels allows for fluorescent visualization of proteins following electrophoresis. Ultraviolet-light exposure, in the presence of this trichlorinated compound, results in a covalent modification of the tryptophan indole ring that shifts the fluorescent emission into the visible range. Based on this principle, we used 2,2,2-trichloroethanol to develop a microplate format protein quantification assay based on the fluorescent signal generated by modified proteins. We also demonstrated a specific fluorescent emission of 2,2,2-trichloroethanol-labeled protein at 450 nm, with a 310 nm excitation, resulting from modification of both tryptophan and tyrosine residues. Following optimization, this protein quantification assay displayed superior sensitivity when compared to UV absorbance at 280 nm (A280), and enabled quantification beyond the linear range permitted by the Bradford method. This 100 μL assay displayed a sensitivity of 10.5 μg in a range up to at least 200 μg. Furthermore, we extended the utility of this method through the development of a 20 μL low-volume assay, with a sensitivity of 8.7 μg tested up to 100 μg, which enabled visualization of proteins following SDS-PAGE. Collectively, these results demonstrate the utility of 2,2,2-trichloroethanol-based protein quantification and demonstrates the protein visualization in polyacrylamide gels based on 2,2,2-trichloroethanol-labeling pre-electrophoresis.
Scientific Reports
Institute of Biochemistry

Chopra, A. (Anand), Willmore, W.G. (William G.), & Biggar, K.K. (2019). Protein quantification and visualization via ultraviolet-dependent labeling with 2,2,2-trichloroethanol. Scientific Reports, 9(1). doi:10.1038/s41598-019-50385-9